How to Administer CBD Oil to Dogs: Step-by-Step Guide

Written by: Jamie
Updated: August 9, 2023
Dog taking cbd oil from a dropper

Learn how to administer CBD to a dog in the safest way with our guide.

We also explain dosages and how to monitor a dog effectively.

Just remember, none of this information replaces the expertise of your local vet! If you have any questions then they are the best people to ask.

Understanding CBD Oil for Dogs: What You Need to Know

CBD is a natural compound, derived from the hemp plant, has been making waves for its potential therapeutic benefits. But what exactly is CBD oil, and how can it be used for man's best friend?

First and foremost, it's essential to understand the legality of CBD oil in the UK. As long as the oil contains less than 0.2% THC (the psychoactive compound found in cannabis) and is derived from an EU-approved industrial hemp strain, it is legal.

However, no dedicated CBD products for pets have yet been licensed. This means only CBD oil meant for human consumption or topical application may be used.

Related: Don't miss our guide on CBD laws in the UK in 2023.

The usage of CBD oil for dogs is quite versatile. It has been employed by people to treat various ailments, including anxiety, arthritis, seizures, and chronic pain. Many pet owners are turning to CBD oil as a natural alternative to traditional medications, seeking a gentle yet effective solution.

Quality control is paramount when selecting CBD oil for your dog. Only consider organic products from reputable companies that have been third-party lab-tested. 

Note, you should always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet CBD.

While CBD oil is generally considered safe, it may cause side effects in some dogs, such as dry mouth, lowered blood pressure, or drowsiness. Careful monitoring of your dog's reaction is vital to ensure that the treatment is well-tolerated.

CBD oil for dogs offers a promising and natural avenue for treating various ailments. By understanding the legal landscape, focusing on quality, adhering to proper dosing guidelines, and seeking professional guidance, dog owners in the UK can explore this exciting option with confidence and care.

The journey into the world of CBD oil is filled with potential and discovery, opening new doors for enhancing the well-being of our cherished canine companions.

Dog taking CBD oil


Step-by-Step Guide to Administering CBD Oil to Dogs

By following these steps you can ensure you are taking the necessary precautions and you are administering CBD oil to your pet in the safest way possible.


Selecting the Appropriate Dosage for Your Dog's Size and Needs

Generally speaking we want to give 2mg of CBD for every 10 pounds (4.5kg) of dog weight.

This should be applied twice a day, every 4-8 hours.

You should monitor your dog closely for the first few days. Maintain consistency with the CBD application and then you can adjust based on what you experience.

Each dog is different and CBD is also different for each condition being treated. For example, dosing CBD for a dog's anxiety may be different than dosing for pain.

If you want to adjust the dosing, then only do so in small increments and monitor closely. You should also seek the advice of your vet before adjusting the dosing.


CBD Dosage Chart for Dogs

Cell

Weight

CBD Dosage

Very Small

Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier, Maltese etc.

5 lbs

1 mg

10 lbs

2 mg

Small

Shetland Sheepdog, Pug, King Charles Spaniel etc.

15 lbs

3 mg

20 lbs

4 mg

25 lbs

5 mg

Medium

Bulldog, Beagle, Dachshund, Spaniel etc.

30 lbs

6 mg

40 lbs

8 mg

50 lbs

10 mg

Large

Retriever, German Shepherd, Boxer etc.

60 lbs

12 mg

75 lbs

15 mg

80 lbs

16 mg

Very Large

Great Dane, St Bernards, Newfoundlands etc.

100 lbs

20 mg

150 lbs

30 mg


Methods of Administration: Oral, Topical, or Mixed with Food

Administering CBD oil to a dog can be done in several ways, and the method you choose may depend on your dog's preferences, the reason for administering CBD, and your own comfort level with the different methods.

Here's a detailed look at the three primary methods of administering CBD oil to a dog: orally, topically, or mixed with food.


Oral Administration

Oral administration is a direct method where the CBD oil is given to the dog by placing it directly into the mouth. This can be done using a dropper, which is often provided with the CBD oil bottle. Here's how you might do it:

  1. Measure the Correct Dosage: Using the dropper, measure the correct dosage according to the dog's size, age, and needs. The product's packaging should provide guidelines on the appropriate dosage.
  2. Hold Your Dog Calmly: Gently hold your dog's head and reassure it with calm and soothing words.
  3. Administer the Oil: Place the dropper into the dog's mouth, preferably under the tongue, and slowly release the oil. This area absorbs substances quickly, allowing for faster effects.
  4. Reward Your Dog: After administering the oil, reward your dog with praise or a treat to create a positive association with the experience.
dog licking cbd oil from dropper


Topical Administration

Topical administration involves applying the CBD oil directly to the dog's skin. This method is often used for localised issues such as skin conditions or joint pain. Here's how to do it:

  1. Measure the Correct Dosage: As with oral administration, measure the correct dosage using the dropper.
  2. Find the Target Area: Identify the area of the skin where you want to apply the oil. If it's for joint pain, it might be near a specific joint.
  3. Apply the Oil: Gently rub the oil into the skin using your fingers or a soft cloth. Make sure to massage it in well so that it's absorbed.
  4. Avoid Washing: Try to keep your dog from licking the area or getting it wet for a while to allow the oil to be absorbed.


Mixed with Food

Some dogs might be resistant to the taste or sensation of CBD oil, so mixing it with food can be an effective way to administer it. Here's how:

  1. Measure the Correct Dosage: Again, use the dropper to measure the correct dosage.
  2. Choose the Right Food: Select a food that your dog loves and that will easily mask the taste of the CBD oil.
  3. Mix the Oil with the Food: Add the CBD oil to the food and mix it well to ensure that it's evenly distributed.
  4. Serve the Food: Give the food to your dog as you normally would, watching to make sure it eats all of it.

Each of these methods has its own benefits and may be more suitable for different situations or different dogs.

Oral administration might provide the fastest effects, while topical application could be best for localised problems, and mixing with food might be the easiest method if your dog is resistant to the taste of CBD oil. 

Always consult with a veterinarian or a professional who is knowledgeable about CBD products for pets to ensure that you are using the right method and dosage for your dog's specific needs and condition.

Our Recommended CBD Oil for Dogs

Nordic Oil Natural Broad Spectrum CBD Oil

  • Broad Spectrum CBD
    - Contains <0.02% THC (Non-psychoactive)
  • 100% Natural Ingredients  - Organic, Non-GMO
  • No Additives
    - Only CBD Hemp Extract & Hemp Seed Oil
  • Mild Flavour
    - Great for Adding to Food


Tips and Tricks for Making CBD Oil Administration Easier for Your Dog

Administering CBD oil to your dog might seem daunting at first, especially if your pet is not used to taking supplements or medications.

Here are some handy tips and tricks to make the process easier for both you and your furry friend:

  1. Use Positive Reinforcement: Always reward your dog with a treat or affectionate praise after administering the CBD oil. This creates a positive association and can make future administrations easier.
  2. Go Slow and Be Patient: If your dog is new to CBD oil, start with a smaller dose and gradually increase it as needed. Be patient and gentle, especially if you are administering the oil directly into the mouth.
  3. Mix with Strong-Flavored Foods: If you're mixing the CBD oil with food, choose something with a strong flavor that your dog loves. This can help mask the taste of the CBD oil.
  4. Utilise Distraction Techniques: Sometimes, distracting your dog with a toy or treat can make administration easier, especially if you're using the oral method.
  5. Consult with Your Veterinarian: If you're unsure about the correct dosage or method of administration, don't hesitate to consult with your veterinarian. They can provide guidance tailored to your dog's specific needs and condition.
  6. Follow the Instructions: Always follow the instructions provided by the CBD oil manufacturer. They will include guidelines on dosage and administration based on the product's concentration and formulation.
  7. Keep a Routine: Administering the CBD oil at the same time and in the same way every day can help your dog get used to the routine, making it easier over time.
  8. Monitor Your Dog's Reaction: Keep an eye on how your dog reacts to the CBD oil, especially the first few times you administer it. If you notice any adverse reactions, consult with your veterinarian.
  9. Use a Special Feeding Tool: If you're struggling with oral administration, consider using a special feeding syringe or tool designed for administering liquids to pets. These can be found at pet stores and might make the process smoother.
  10. Consider Topical Application for Specific Issues: If your dog needs CBD oil for a skin or joint issue, consider topical application. It might be easier to apply the oil directly to the affected area.
  11. Avoid Force: Never force the CBD oil into your dog's mouth, as this can create a negative experience and make future administrations more difficult.


How Long Does it Take CBD to Start Working?

CBD generally takes 30-60 minutes to start working. Oil administered without food will start working more quickly.

When administered with food it will taker longer to affect older dogs than younger dogs as they take longer to digest their food.


How Long Will CBD Last For My Dog?

It's hard to say for sure as there are a lot of variables. Factors like the size of your dog, how active it is, the breed, age, and the how severe the symptoms are, can all affect the the length of time the CBD will last.

Anything between 4 to 8 hours is what you can expect.


Monitoring Your Dog's Reaction to CBD Oil: Safety Guidelines

Monitoring your dog's reaction to CBD oil is a crucial aspect of ensuring its safety and effectiveness. Here's a comprehensive guide to understanding the signals to be aware of and how to monitor your dog after it has consumed CBD oil:


Understanding Your Dog's Normal Behavior

Before administering CBD oil, it's essential to have a clear understanding of your dog's normal behavior, energy levels, appetite, and other daily patterns. This baseline will help you recognize any changes or reactions that may occur after consuming CBD oil.


Observing Immediate Reactions

After administering CBD oil, pay close attention to your dog's immediate reactions. Look for signs of discomfort, such as drooling, pawing at the mouth, or signs of nausea. These may indicate an adverse reaction to the taste or texture of the oil.


Monitoring Physical Symptoms

Keep an eye on physical symptoms that may indicate an adverse reaction or overdose. These can include:

  • Lethargy or Drowsiness: While some relaxation is normal, excessive sleepiness may be a concern.
  • Diarrhea or Vomiting: These could signal an upset stomach or intolerance to the oil.
  • Changes in Appetite: A sudden increase or decrease in appetite may indicate a reaction.
  • Coordination Issues: Difficulty walking or a lack of coordination may be signs of an overdose.


Assessing Behavioral Changes

Observe your dog's behavior for any unusual changes, such as increased anxiety, aggression, or other behavioral shifts that are out of character. These could be signs of an underlying issue related to the CBD oil.


Monitoring for Long-Term Use

If you're using CBD oil for chronic conditions, regular monitoring is essential. Keep a journal or log of your dog's reactions, behavior, and any symptoms. Note the dosage and frequency, and make regular observations to detect any long-term effects or gradual changes.


Consulting with a Veterinarian

If you notice any concerning symptoms or reactions, consult with a veterinarian immediately. Regular check-ups with a vet can also be beneficial for ongoing monitoring and adjustments to the CBD oil regimen.


Consulting with a Veterinarian: When and Why It's Necessary

Consulting with a veterinarian is a vital step in the process of administering CBD oil to your dog, and it's essential to understand when and why it's necessary. Here's a detailed explanation:

Before Starting CBD Oil Treatment

Before introducing CBD oil into your dog's routine, it's wise to consult with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about CBD and its potential effects on animals. This initial consultation serves several purposes:

  • Assessment of Suitability: A veterinarian can evaluate your dog's specific condition, age, size, and overall health to determine if CBD oil is an appropriate treatment.
  • Dosage Recommendations: Proper dosing is crucial for effectiveness and safety. A veterinarian can provide personalized dosage guidelines based on your dog's unique needs.
  • Understanding Potential Interactions: If your dog is on other medications or supplements, a veterinarian can identify any potential interactions or contraindications with CBD oil.


During CBD Oil Treatment

Once you've started administering CBD oil, regular check-ins with a veterinarian can be beneficial for ongoing monitoring and adjustments:

  • Monitoring Reactions: A veterinarian can help you understand what reactions are normal and what might be a cause for concern.
  • Adjusting Dosage: As your dog's condition changes or if you notice specific reactions, a veterinarian can help adjust the dosage or frequency of CBD oil.
  • Addressing Concerns: If you have any questions or uncertainties during the treatment, a veterinarian can provide expert guidance and reassurance.


In Case of Adverse Reactions

If you notice any adverse reactions or symptoms that concern you, immediate consultation with a veterinarian is essential:

  • Emergency Situations: In the event of severe reactions, such as extreme lethargy, vomiting, or coordination issues, seek veterinary care right away.
  • Understanding Side Effects: A veterinarian can help you discern between normal side effects and signs of a more serious problem.


For Long-Term Use

If you plan to use CBD oil as a long-term treatment for chronic conditions, regular veterinary check-ups are advisable:

  • Ongoing Monitoring: Regular veterinary visits allow for ongoing monitoring of your dog's reaction to CBD oil and any potential long-term effects.
  • Tailoring Treatment: Over time, your dog's needs may change, and a veterinarian can help tailor the CBD oil treatment to continue meeting those needs effectively.


Conclusion

When administering CBD oil to a dog, just like with any other medicinal product, you must take precautions.

The first step is to consult your vet and regular communication with your vet is recommended.

This article is only a guide intended for informational purposes and can never replace the advice of a veterinary professional.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at Jamie@woofbarkgrowl.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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